First it was the “He-cession.” Now we have the “Menaissance.”

This piece by a writer at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is just too much. Shitting on those feminine “metrosexuals” to coin the “retrosexual” in what is the new era of the “menaissance,” his word play is as intense as his boner for Don Draper. The Mad Men fan has taken the show’s depiction of masculinity a little too seriously and is claiming that America is following suit and going back to a time where “the man’s man is back”:

Think Don Draper, the dapper, jut-jawed executive played by Jon Hamm in the AMC series “Mad Men.” He may be a philanderer, but you won’t find a pink shirt in his wardrobe. Like the dark hero characters of ex-spy Michael Westen in “Burn Notice” and U.S. Marshal Raylon Givens in “Justified,” “Mad Men” presents alpha males who live unapologetically by their own code.

Regarding the show, I think most fans here would agree that creating a “menaissance” is probably the last thing the writers (who are overwhelming female, by the way) are trying to do, but it’s sad that some people have a tendency to take good analysis on sexism and gender roles and interpret it literally to fit their own wishful misogyny. On the other hand, one thing he does have right is that there is a ton of ridiculous and sexist, manly marketing to fellas — but it’s nothing new.
What is probably the worst part of the piece is a quote by a gender studies professor, who’d we think would come correct against this guy’s obvious intentions, but alas:

Susan Shaprio Barash, who teaches gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College, says the lingering recession has more women yearning for the reliability and stability of a bring-home-the-bacon kind of guy — without the chauvinism.
“Since the downturn, because things are in shambles, women really want manly men,” she says. “Just because there’s this climate of insecurity, women really want strong men. That’s why ‘Mad Men’ is so popular.”

Who is this person and how did they become a gender studies professor? Well, I looked her up and apparently she writes about how all women yearn to be wives. Sigh.
Thanks to MAC for the link.

Join the Conversation

  • Bridgette

    Um…I’ve never seen Mad Men. Heck, unless it is so popular that it is being watched by two-thirds of the population, I wouldn’t be trying to claim anything based upon it.
    Of course, if you want a real “man’s man” Futurama will be back soon. We can watch Webelow Zapp Brannigan getting rejected by women and punched in the face a lot.
    That show’s so popular it was brought back from the dead- TWICE!

  • DireSloth

    There are actually people who watch Mad Men and think “Wow, what great role models!”??? One of these days I’m going to start giving out “Completely Missed the Point” awards, and this gentleman is gonna get the first one.

  • Icy Bear

    This is ridiculous. What I see in Mad Men is an insightful and very damning critique of the ‘manly’ men it depicts, not a celebration of it. I don’t know what women that gender studies professor has been talking to, but I know I like Mad Men for its social critique and sexy ladies!
    (Isn’t it funny how these people going on about what women ‘really’ want always assume all women are straight? I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who is crushing on Joan rather than Don!)

  • gwye

    Ironically, the only people who seem to care about freeing men from their gender roles are feminists.
    In my brief tenure here at Feministing I have seen feminists stand up for:
    -Men wearing skirts
    -Men who are victims of domestic violence
    -Workplace safety regulations, which would overwhelmingly benifet men
    -Effective, reversable birth control for men
    -Male soldiers. Not only do feminists generally oppose sending our boys off to die in useless wars, they also believe in letting our girls take some of the bullets.
    -Men’s health, and need for men to talk about their health without feeling “emasculated”
    -More freedom in men’s sexual choices. I have never heard a feminist mock a man for being a virgin, or for being gay.
    So there’s what feminism offers men. What does the “Menaissance” offer men? More rigid gender roles. More stereotypes. More misogyny. More misandry.

  • adag87

    Hmm. I graduated as a communication arts major from Marymount last year and I took a few gender studies cross-listed classes… Honestly I never took a class from this woman, but rest assured that not all the professors there are like that. That’s really bizarre and uncharacteristic of the almost overtly liberal, nontraditional atmosphere at the college.
    Also, I think these people need to read the Mad Men Mondays column on this site!

  • sistercoyote

    Has this person even ever actually seen an episode of Burn Notice? Michael Weston isn’t exactly a “man’s man,” at least, not in my opinion.

  • IAmGopherrr

    I LOVE futurama!Leelah kicks ass (and Zaps)! Cant wait until June when it comes out.

  • cyranocyrano

    In addition to the comments about Mad Men, the show Burn Notice goes out of its way to show how emotionally crippled Michael Westen is, and how that confines him.

  • Jack

    Maybe they’re thinking of Bruce Campbell’s character. Just standing next to Bruce Campbell is an FDA-approved cure for testosterone deficiency.

  • genericjanedoe

    I keep trying to think of a way that professors statement might have been abbreviated to support his viewpoint…like maybe she was critiquing people who feel that way.
    I’m not generally an optimist. The pessimist in me is winning because I don’t think the statement was creatively edited. Sigh.

  • VickyinSeattle

    One more thing: It’s so silly when basic human traits are trumped up as “manly.”
    Resilience is a trait that men, women, and children exhibit–the ability to bounce back from difficult or traumatic experiences. We wouldn’t get very far as a species without it.

  • Devonian

    Except that a lot of women really do seem to love Don Draper.
    …it’s irrational and creepy, but it happens.

  • Max

    Mad Men in 60 Seconds by CollegeHumor:
    I think this might help explain the show.

  • IAmGopherrr

    “”Mad Men” presents alpha males who live unapologetically by their own code”
    …..that got his wife to move away from him and caused alot of hardship for those around him. I guess he thinks being a ‘man’ means being a careless problem maker?

  • VickyinSeattle

    The man’s man “does not own more hair and skin care products than his wife or girlfriend.”
    “More?” LOL, Methinks Loueffler wants to have his face scrub and use it too.
    I’m always struck by men who think Don Draper is a role model. He’s a tortured soul who’s haunted by his past, and his wife just left him at the end of season 3. He had a miserable childhood, and is an unhappy adult. And, men find that aspirational?

  • Broggly

    The eponymous protagonist of the cartoon Archer is a very Don Draperesque figure, what with his constant womanising and ’60s look.
    Also, I find the over the top homoerotic machismo in the Kronar the Barbarian strips on Oglaf(NSFW). Probably not a coincidence that it’s created by a woman too.
    (Again, these are from a site where the artist only labels the ones that aren’t NSFW, to save time)

  • iris

    If you follow the link to Shapiro’s book, you’ll find a typo-riddled description…plus, it’s self-published, and clearly not the result of careful scholarship. Makes me wonder how many fabulous feminist profs the authors of the piece had to interview and then reject before they found someone, anyone, to give them the quote they needed.

  • smartbunny

    Sigh… are there still men who are like “We need to take our manliness BACK!” as if men haven’t run EVERYTHING throughout history. Same thing as white people being all, “Oh no! The whites are not privileged anymore! Save the whites!”

  • smartbunny

    Exactly, Draper is not supposed to be a role model!

  • Josh Jasper

    Perhaps it’s the “tame the bad boy” fantasy that gets into romance novels?

  • makomk

    You know, these days even men are expected to wash their hair once in a while. Shocking, I know!